View Full Version : UMD Questions

2010-09-14, 01:36 AM
1. Does 'Read Magic' remove the "Activate Blindly" and "Decipher a Written Spell" checks from your UMD rolls when activating a scroll?

2. How would this be resolved? A high level Wizard gives you a scroll and tells you it's 'Time Stop.' The DC checks for "Deciphering" and "Using" the scroll are 34 and 39 respectively, while a blind activation is just 25. Are scrolls exempt from blind casting the scroll, because this seems wrong that it would be harder to cast after you know what the spell is.

3. If I "Activate Blindly" a wand its DC is 25. Then after I figure it's a 'wand of magic missile' its DC drops to 20 right? Also, if a wizard identifies the wand before I use it does it make the DC 20 even though I've never used it?

4. The description is a little vague for 'Emulate an Ability Score.' If I have to emulate two ability scores on a magic item to use it, then do I roll the DC for each or am I only allowed to roll for one of the ability score checks?

5. In 'Emulating an Alignment' check, let's say my alignment is chaotic good, if I try to use an item which requires me to be lawful evil am I out of luck or do I do two DC 30 checks?

6. Would an Ogre/Giant offspring count as the 'Giant' race or the Ogre and Giant races (They are both under Giants in the MM)? If it's the latter, then a magical item requiring both races would be impossible for a halfling to emulate, right? Also, if she polymorphed into an ogre, then would all she have to emulate is the giant aspect, or would it still be impossible?

7. If I 'Emulate a Class Feature' and let's say I need to mimic lay on hands and turn undead can I do both or am I only able to do one DC check?

8. If my CG rogue finds a dagger which requires LG alignment to get a +5 enhancement bonus and has the ability to cast 'Searing Light,' then if she fails the Lawful emulation, can she still activate the searing light independent of that failed check? Or do the innate/passive requirements of an item trump active casting from an item or vise-verse?

9. Can a rogue ruin a spell tattooed on a caster using her UMD? Or ruining a spellbook by using all the spells with UMD (If the rogue snuck into an enemy camp, coming across the casters spellbook. She finds it's enchanted so it can't be burned, made wet or ripped/torn)? Can a rogue purposefully fail a UMD check? What sort of protections and resistances would she need to protect from all the failed spell effects? Is the possible 2d6 damage magic or a different type? Is there a minimum time component before I can fail or succeed a UMD? Would the tattooed caster take the damage (If that was the effect) or my rogue on a failed UMD?

Finally 10. Is there a way to increase a caster level on a spell or is a wand/scroll of fireball always CL5?

Phew, sorry for all the questions, but next campaign I decided to be a UMD focused PC since the party I play with does high magic modules and I had some questions looking over the skill.

PS: Was this the right board to ask questions like these on?

PPS: Any links to good UMD focused builds or their utility would be greatly appreciated.

2010-09-14, 04:23 AM
okay, let's see what I can do. If I'm not mistaken:

1) read magic does remove the need for deciphering the scroll. That's the whole purpose of the spell. But just because you know what the spell is doesn't mean you know how to activate the item.

2) again, just because you know what spell is on the scroll doesn't mean you know how to activate it properly. the dc 25 check represents giving it your best guess, while the dc 39 represents you knowing exactly how to activate the scroll.

3)wands are different from scrolls (spell activation v. spell completion triggers) once you've discovered how to use it, or been instructed in its use, it's a simple dc 20 every time. Mind you, that's instructed in its use, not simply told that it's a wand of fireball.

4)you roll for each ability emulation separately, though I don't know of any magic item that requires more than one ability to activate.

5)the moral and ethical aspects of a characters alignment aren't counted as separate things. LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE are the nine alignments, you pick one of these to emulate.

6) if the item requires a specific breed of giant or ogre to activate, you must either be of that race or make a umd check to emulate it. if the item requires you to be of the giant type, any creature of that type can use the item. If an item requires you to be of two races, a) smack your dm for inventing such an item, b) unfortunately, you can only emulate one race at a time, so you'd need to be of the other required race. Something in the polymorph line should allow you to count as the creature whose form you are taking however.

7) You would need to make a check for each, separately. But once again, I can think of no item that requires more than one class-feature to activate, and relatively few that even require a single class-feature.

8)Your (possibly emulated) alignment, activates whichever abilities the specific description of the item says it does.

9) I'm not familiar with tattooed spells so I won't comment on that, but a spell book can't be activated by umd because it's not a magic item. As for the destruction of spell books, they're only as durable as the wizard who owns them has made them. The standard, straight-out-of-the-PHB, spell book is just a mundane book with arcane writing in it. It's not even water proof, just water-resistant. Rip it up like you would any other book you'd want to destroy. otoh, CA has rules for spell-books made of adamantine, and tattooing arcane writing on your skin. These would be noticeably more difficult to destroy.

10)The caster level of wands/scrolls is fixed when the item is created. Staffs are a hotly debated topic. One camp argues that you can make a umd check to emulate an enormous caster level to make penetrating SR a joke, as well as maxing out level dependent portions of the spell such as range and damage. The other camp believes that staffs use the caster level that was built-in to them at creation unless you have an actual caster level.

as for your first post-script, yes, this is the appropriate forum for these questions. I can't help with the second, however.

2010-09-14, 07:33 AM
Sweet, thanks for the reply. As for the other post script, I'll just look at various classes with UMD and check some build optimization threads.